The Home School Court Report
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H. R. 6

Cover Stories
HSLDA Argues Before Two State Supreme Courts

Home Schoolers Celebrate Victory in the North Dakota Supreme Court

Leeper Case Argued Before Texas Supreme Court As Home Schoolers Rally to Support Parental Rights

Financially Strapped School Districts Try to “Enroll” Home Schoolers


National Center Reports

Congressional Action Program

President’s Corner

Across the States


Department of Labor Regulations May Interfere with Home School Work Schedules

Generally speaking, child labor laws in the United States require students to get work permits if they plan to work during the school year. Under U.S. Department of Labor guidelines, states set regulations which usually specify the total number of hours teenagers may work, limitations about how late in the evening they can work on “school nights,” and restrictions about work schedules between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on “school days.”

Some states are currently considering adjustment of their regulations on student work requirements to limit the amount of time a student can work to 18 hours per week with no work between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (day work would be allowed only on “official” school holidays), with no work later than 8:30 p.m. on “school” nights.

Home schoolers working with creative teaching schedules where vacation periods and days off do not necessarily coincide with the traditional academic calendar could experience some inadvertent “discrimination” if the legislature and regulations bureau are not educated about the flexibility of home schooling. Furthermore, as apprenticeship concepts enter into the daily schedule for an older student, well-reasoned exceptions to the rules will be required.

Labeling Children “At Risk” is Politically Incorrect!

Educational Leadership, the journal of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, published a fascinating editorial in its December 1992/January 1993 issue. Writer Ron Brandt posed the question, “Is it acceptable to call students ‘at risk’?” He answered, “Some educators don’t think so.”

Then he explained: “The term came into wide use soon after the landmark 1983 proclamation of the Commission on Excellence, A Nation at Risk. In response to the report’s condemnation of U.S. schools as mediocre, educators and advocates pointed to the problems of children and their families. If America was in decline, they countered, the cause was not so much an inept school system as it was a social and economic system that was not producing secure, healthy, motivated young people.

“The authors of A Nation at Risk acknowledged that educators were not exclusively to blame for the poor results of American schools, they urged parents to expect more and students to work harder. But they said little about the poverty and degradation that make such pieties meaningless for growing numbers of children. Both points are valid; schools cannot make up for glaring social inadequacies—but neither must they blame their own deficiencies on students and their parents.

“That is why critics have objected to ‘culturally deprived,’ ‘disadvantaged,’ and ‘at risk.’ Such terms seem to imply that the problem is in the students rather than in the schools. If educators believe that all children can learn, why label some as least likely to succeed? Doesn’t it just provide a ready-made excuse for not teaching them? …

“Yet, today the term ‘at risk’ takes on still another connotation. More and more children—from all classes and income levels—are at risk not only of failing in school but also for their personal safety and survival….

“The problems that children bring with them to school these days are upsetting and overwhelming. Most of us, when we chose to become teachers and administrators, did not expect to be dealing with such matters. But many children are, in fact, at risk. Educators must not only recognize that but must do whatever they can to improve their chances.”

We answer with two thoughts. First, the best way to improve a child’s chances is to provide the one-on-one attention-specific education model found in home schooling. Second, it certainly is a good idea never to label a child “at risk,” lest that self-fulfilling prophecy be too heavy a load to bear. We shouldn’t label people “politically incorrect” either. Is “politically challenged” a better term?

Mormons Clamp Down: Home Schooling Cited as Undesirable Behavior

An Associated Press report in the Washington Times (November 30, 1992) describes turmoil in Mormon circles as “ultra-conservative [members] say they are being warned and excommunicated by church leaders who don’t approve of their religious and political views, including ideas once espoused by the church’s president….

“During a meeting of church leaders from central and southern Utah earlier this month Mr. Jeppson [elder and member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy] outlined a profile of dissidents. Presidents of church districts (which are called stakes) have used that profile to compile a list of warning signs.

“Among activities on the list are home schooling children [emphasis added], membership in the John Birch Society, holding religious study groups or seminars outside the church, performing church rituals outside the temple, reading doomsday books and quoting an exact day of the coming of Jesus Christ.”

“Separation of Church and State Battle” Hurts Deaf Student

Attorney William Bentley Ball is planning to argue the Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District case before the U.S. Supreme Court sometime this season. The case involves a profoundly deaf student named James Zobrest, who recently graduated from Salpointe Catholic High School. James sought to have a sign language interpreter assist him as he attended his classes, and the Catalina Foothills School Board refused to provide the services because Jim was attending a church-affiliated school rather than a public or non-denominational school.

The New York Times report (October 6, 1992) of the Supreme Court roundup including two cases on religion and the schools provides details of this situation. It is incredibly ironic and drastically erroneous that assistance programs are mandated to avoid any value-oriented or religious ties. After all, when low-income parents are given government food stamps, no agency requires that food must be purchased at secular or “public” stores only. Private establishments may provide the food services and receive the stamps, and the patrons are free to choose where they will shop. Likewise, the recipient of sign language help should be allowed to determine where he will “shop” for his education.

Lessons in “Tolerance and Diversity” Require Orientation to Homosexual Lifestyles

According to society’s goals, we all want our children to understand diversities in society and certainly to learn tolerance. But does this include the adoption of programs like “Project 10,” endorsed by the National Education Association? According to Bob Simonds, president of the National Association of Christian Educators, “‘Project 10’ teaches children that they can’t help being homosexuals or lesbians. One in Ten is the title of their classroom textbook. They are taught that one in ten children born are genetically and irreversibly homosexuals. Kinsey’s psychological studies of criminals who were pedophiles (child molesters) and rapists were the basis of his false conclusions that 10% of the population must be homosexuals or perverts. A thoroughly disproven theory!

“On this presumption, however, homosexuals are allowed to enter the classrooms and describe their lifestyles to innocent children, and then hand out hotline phone numbers (gay and lesbian organizations) to call for help in enjoying their new lifestyles. This is open recruitment! Is that what diversity means?

Three new books for first graders highlight the ghastly reality of the New York City schools. Published by Alyson Wonderland, Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite, Heather has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman, and Jenny lives with Eric and Martin (translated from Danish by Louis Mackay) all present sodomy as a perfectly acceptable choice in life. The books are graphically illustrated so that youngsters will be able to visualize just how “normal” such lifestyles and “family” situations can be.

At least one school district rebelled—loudly! Parents, administrators, and teachers in Queens were “worried about the state of traditional values and what they saw as the latest evidence of their erosion.” In response the New York City’s Chancellor, Joseph A. Fernandez, then suspended the Queens school board for its defiant refusal to adopt the sodomite curriculum, and three trustees have seized control of the Queens district’s day-to-day responsibilities. Our question is, whose children are they anyway?

Schools Have No Constitutional Duty to Protect Students

“Public school officials have no constitutional duty to protect school children from violence committed by their peers, the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held August 1. The court said compulsory school attendance laws do not restrict students’ liberty enough to create a special relationship for Fourteenth Amendment purposes (D.R. v. Middle Bucks Area Vocational Technical School, CA3 (enbanc), No. 91-1, 36, 8/11/92; see 60 LW 2430).

“Two female high school students alleged that several male students physically, verbally, and sexually molested them in a unisex bathroom adjacent to a graphic arts classroom. They sued the school district and school officials under 42 USC 1983, alleging that the officials generally were aware of the chaotic classroom conditions and either knew or should have known that the sexual misconduct was taking place.

“The court held the school officials are insulated from liability by DeShancy v. Winnebago County Dept. of Social Sciences, 489 US 189, 57 LW 4210 (1989). DeShancy held that the state has not duty to protect the life, liberty, or property of a citizen from deprivations by private actors, unless a special relationship akin to physical custody exists. The child abuse in DeShancy did not occur while the child was in state custody.

“Similarly, the students in this case cannot be viewed as being in the state’s custody simply by virtue of the compulsory attendance laws, the court said. Unlike prisoners, involuntarily committed patients, or even foster children, students do not depend upon the schools to provide for their basic human needs. Notwithstanding the compulsory attendance laws, ‘the parents or others remain a child’s primary caretakers and decisionmakers,’ the court said.” (Report appeared in The United States Law Week, August 25, 1992.)